Busking

Busking

Are musicians still busking I wonder.? I heard some buskers today, and they were very good. It can often be the only way for some musicians to be heard, and they are glad of the exposure. I have heard some great musicians and singers, who probably wouldn’t be heard any other way were it not for busking. When I go to my nearest town, I can expect to hear people busking. It is still very popular, here in Ireland. I did some busking myself, back in the 1980’s. Quite often, you can get a mixture of styles, that wouldn’t be heard on radio or television at all. Buskers will perform what they like. They won’t bother with trends.The great thing about street entertainment, is the way you might hear a singer or musician right at that moment. That might be the only time. They might never again be heard. Maybe in many ways, it is a platform for the struggling entertainer. Did anyone on The Session busk.? Is it a dying tradition I wonder.?

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Definitely not dying.

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You did busking in the 80s?

There’s me thinking you were like fourteen or something…

Posted .

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Some more enlightened councils and marketing bodies actually pay buskers to busk (and they get to keep the proceeds of anything they sell). I do this in Gloucester from time to time. Well worth it - always an education and you meet all sorts of people - and of course you get enough to at least cover your expenses so you are never out of pocket.

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Not dying, but in danger of being killed off, Due to the excessive use of amplifiers.

On a recent trip to Bath (a city that actively encourages busking) I was absolutely appalled. On my last visit a few years ago wandering round town was a very pleasant experience with a wide variety of music, from classical to country. Sensible volume levels so that if you weren’t interested you could ignore it, and generally a very high standard of musicianship. This time the town was totally over run with singing/strummers and their portable PAs. There were few places where you could get away from their volume wars, and the standard was very low - I think all the decent musicians have been driven away.

Unless some enlightened person in the council realizes what is happening and bans amplifiers it won’t be long before they get so many complaints that they have to ban busking completely.

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Back in the days when I was busking it was those damn Inca bands that ramped up the tensions in the volume wars. I still hate their ersatz, mystik mountain music years down the line. People are skint so there are bound to be some still trying their luck on the streets rather than queuing up to try and get on x factor.

Bath used to be quite civilised for busking, with morning meetings to agree the pitches and playing times and very little by way of amplification. I’m not surprised things have changed, we live in an increasingly more self obsessed and less considerate age and what is going on at street level is bound to reflect this shift in attitude.

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It’s not ITM, but it is on Paul St. in Cork, so I’ll put this up here (it’s me!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WreFeuDNXg


Spent the summer in Ireland and funded most of it through busking. Galway’s great for busking, as is Cork. Actually, pretty much everywhere I played besides Dublin brought in decent money, and Dublin would probably be better with amplification. But I don’t like buskers using amplification, since most turn it up way too loud and become an annoyance. I get it for some people with softer voices and/or instruments, but generally if you can be heard clearly without being seen you’re probably overdoing it.

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I’ve done quite a bit a busking, but there are just too many rules to deal with around this part of the country.

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I did my first bit of busking last Xmas as part of a local Xmas Event in a small town called Whitley Bay. It was cold but well organised so everyone involved knew the rules (and there were refreshingly few of those). I’d like to do more but have no idea how to get into it as I suspect that there would be more rules in other areas of the North East.

There’s plenty of busking in Newcastle (Upon Tyne) City Centre too including a range of modern styles and ttraditional/folk instrumentalists. We have a large main street in our City Centre and as it is so long you can often get three different buskers all performing but not interfering with each other’s sound. We have a musical instrument shop that always has buskers outside of it too. They are usually trad/folk based.

On the flip side, there’s a guy who brings an amp, a mic and backing tracks on an iPhone, i.e. no instruments whatsoever. He sings loudly (thanks to the amp/mic), absolutely the very definition of monotonously and is even so far out of time that he was once midway through the second verse of Streets of London before the backing track was at the first chorus. He seems to have no concept of what the backing tracks are doing, even singing verses over guitar solos or not picking up on the fact that the track is in a totally different place to him.

When he is finished the song and the track is stll going he just abbruptly hits stop and moves to the next song.

BUT because he has a sign saying ‘Charity Busker, over £10,000 raised’ he gets away with it. Absolutely shocking.

What makes it worse is that he does this at a metro station, i.e. where the people are forced to hear it because they are waiting for their train and can’t exactly walk away.

Posted by .

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Only ever for ’ Fun ‘.
But, I hope I never need to, just to survive 😉
f4

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Amen to that, f4, it’s probably less fun if you are relying on the money!

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A mate of mine says that whether or not busking is fun depends on whether you are doing it because you want to or because you have to.

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"…it’s probably less fun if you are relying on the money…"

I make part of my living busking. I suppose it would be untrue to say that I *rely* on busking or my living - I have the security of knowing that I can earn a bit of money in other ways. But I find it satisfying to be earning my living doing something that I enjoy. On a good day, pound-for-effort, it’s an easy day’s work - and there’s no waiting until the end of the month for a paycheque.

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I always run between the stations in Glasgow to get away from terrible, over-amplified buskers with backing tapes. I agree about the Inca bands. I have also heard "gypsy" players with electronic accordions and been pretty sure they weren’t really playing the instrument at all. It’s depressing really. I have busked for charity a few times, but there is pop music spilling from every shop now and I find it difficult to go out and make more noise when what is needed is more peace.

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I busked for many years, was introduced to the tunes by a friend who happened to be a busker.

It can be a tough old game , make no mistake. Especially thesedays

There can be some amazing moments and fantastic people though,

Horrible when you’ve got to do it, much more fun to play at it, I swear people can smell desperation, they don’t like it . They seemed less likely to tip…If you are havin a blast though, you are much more likely to get tips.

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Busking is still a fine thing to do in at least one or two of my local towns. All done by permit, and there’s no amplification allowed, and only a certain number of permits are issued each day. I have never busked myself but I’m working with friends on some sets so we’ll be ready for spring! I don’t expect to make gobs of money, and that’s fine. Should be a real learning experience.

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I like the idea as a means to get over your stagefright and meet other musicians. Shame most of the buskers here are awful

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Zoukibanjo
There are still some great buskers in my nearest town. Some of them have recorded albums, so the busking helps to sell their work. However, I will admit you can sometimes come across people who haven’t a clue about timing. Here is a good example. Last summer, I was listening to a busker who thought he could play a bodhran. He had a portable c.d player, and various c.d’s of trad music. He was producing a very poor attempt at talent. He had no clue about timing, and was miles ahead of the music. I suppose, there is room for everyone. In fact, It seems that you don’t need a permit to busk anymore. Anyone can set up their gear, and busk away as long as they want to.

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I’m a busker who plays piano accordion & harmonica. I have a varied repetoire and play unamplified as your less likely to get complaints.